Friday, 31 December 2010

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #1 LOS ANGELES LAKERS

U.S. President Barack Obama poses for a photo with the NBA Championship Los Angeles Lakers during an event at a Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington on December 13, 2010, in Washington. Prior to the event the Lakers and the President spent time with children at the Club.  UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg Photo via Newscom

The Lake show are our 'Top Team Of 2010'. They've looked stronger than the rest throughout the year, even capping a mini-slump this week to close the year out. The Los Angeles Lakers once again got acquainted with Larry O'Brien as Phil Jackson's zen controlled an elite group of talent. G.O.C.T, 'Greatest Of Current Time', Kobe Bryant led the way and Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom got tougher in the frontcourt, if only we had more of Bynum. Artest overcame himself and everyone else to have his greatest year. The Lakers were also strong, late in the postseason thanks to their playoff, clutch king, Fisher. The number one team even got better in the Summer re-tooling with Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. Los Angeles is fully deserving of this position, besides they are the champions after all. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #2 BOSTON CELTICS

The Boston Celtics stand on the court during the National Anthem before their game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago on December 12, 2009. UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

Will people stop writing this team off as old? Sure second place is the first loser but they still beat everyone in the beast East to face the Lakers in the finals. An Eastern Conference Champion still raises a banner too. Coach Doc Rivers is still clinically great and the three tandem of Garnett, Pierce and Allen is still big. Sure their seasoned but they make the playoffs two. Boston also added some new faces to New England this Summer with two O'Neal's and a fortified bench of household names. The pride of the Celtics rests on star Rajon Rondo, who is the present and future of this team, even showing this in years past. Still Boston have so much more. Paul Pierces mirror preseason/season buzzer beating heroics against the Knicks at the 'other' Garden can attest to that. Aint that the truth. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #3 MIAMI HEAT

Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James show 10,000 fans their Miami Heat jerseys after signing 6 year contracts with the Heat at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on July 9, 2010. UPI/Michael Bush Photo via Newscom

Even before the biggest Summer in the teams history Miami where looking hot. Dwyane Wade was running a renaissance in South Beach, putting the team on his back and almost shouldering a deeper run. Still, once the biggest Summer of free agency of recent times hit that's when it got real interesting. Miami fans thought they where about to lose Wade to Chicago, they had no idea. Boy, were they wrong! First Wade re-signed then he passed the pen to Chris Bosh who escaped the cold of Toronto for the Heat of Miami. Then the rest was history, hate and a lot of Florida hope. "I will be taking my talents to South Beach". With that prime time, televised deal LeBron formed voltron with his two new superfriends. The rest is history that so far is being written with a shaky hand. Still however after a great Christmas in Los Angeles and some king worthy flashes of brilliance, things are looking up. Besides these guys are young they can always improve their handwriting. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #4 SAN ANTONIO SPURS

Nov 1, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (right) talks with forward Bobby Simmons (1) during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. Photo via Newscom

If critics were writing off the Boston Celtics as old and done then in terms of the San Antonio Spurs their declaration was signed, sealed and delivered. Still these same critics needed to take off the Stevie Wonder shades as San Antonio have been, are and will be still clicking through to 2011. They said they where passed it but San Antonio have opened their window of opportunity even wider with their umpteenth wind. Richard Jefferson and Bobby Simmons breathe new life into the team but this San An group is still strong from their big three to their bench. Tim Duncan still plays like a machine, Manu Ginoboli still plays like a young man and Tony Parker is still leaving tear drops everywhere. Sure they didnt go deep in the western championship this year, but everything was so tight they could of. Still to start this season the Texan titans have been almost perfect at home and right now post the leagues best win record. Lets put t is another way, clearly for you, as of right now the San Antonio Spurs are the best team in the NBA. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #5 ORLANDO MAGIC

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard (L) talks with guard Vince Carter during the third quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago on January 2, 2010. The Bulls won 101-93. UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

Still regarded as a Disney team, someone better warn a brother that this unit is one of the best NBA families around. Sure 2009 saw a finals appearance but 2010 was still a great year in the Magic kingdom. Sure Miami may now be heralded as Florida's finest but the power of Magic is what makes this Orange rivalry that more colorful. Dwight Howard is still the reason the East is a beast, and the smiling, impressionable star is genuinely no joke. Jameer Nelson is still one of the strongest and quickest points around, just like he was in college. The bench is still strong, Stan Van Gundy is still one porn star looking coach who can't be screwed with and this team is still a contender, Miami or no Heat. Orlando have even the tricks for a trade. Vince Carter has had a good year but he is now in Phoenix as Orlando exchanged him for a wealth of talent in Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas who landed via Washington. All this crowded talent could be a problem, but in Disney all characters are favourites. Especially returning star Hedo Turkoglu who gives Orlando yet another new option and an old friendly face. It's beginning to look like 2009 again. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #6 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER

Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant and Nick Collison (L) sit on the bench in the fourth quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 22, 2010. The Knicks defeated the Thunder 112-98.  UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

Sadly the Sonics may now be long gone but there's still a Storm in Seattle in the form of the WNBA Champions. Still for the best bout of thunder, you need to look further west to the changing weather in Oklahoma. No longer Seattle, no longer Sonics and no longer scrubs, Oklahoma City have cleaned up their act. They've gone from looking like an expansion team to furthering their reach to contention. Apart from the Celtics, they where the only team that looked like they could take the Lakers. Seriously...their that good. Tough, talented and passionate, a young team with the whole city behind them sharing the same characteristics. They have the underrated, limitless talents of Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook rounding out the big three but it all starts and ends with star Kevin Durant. He finished last season as not only his teams but the leagues leading scorer. He begins this season right next to LeBron and Kobe as not one of the best in the NBA, but one of the best all time. He is that good and his team that much better. You better get your umbrella's out there's a storm coming. The Thunder are about to reign. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #7 CHICAGO BULLS

Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng (L) looks to drive as Orlando Magic forward Quentin Richardson defends during the third quarter at the United Center in Chicago on December 1, 2010. The Magic won 107-78. UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

It's almost looking like the mid 90's in Chicago. OK so things haven't developed quite to that extent yet but these Bulls are no longer babies. Chi-town is on the rise as their basketball franchise stampedes up the Eastern Conference standings, charging at contenders. If you thought that the frontcourt tandem of Brit Luol Deng and emphatic Joakim Noah was good then think again. They're great but this duo even acts as a reserve to the partnership of big free agent signing Carlos Boozer and franchise point Derrick Rose. Now Boozer is no longer hungover from injury and Rose has bloomed from a sophomore, your now looking at the stronger Malone and Stockton for the new decade (sorry Deron). The pair could pick, roll and dunk their way to the top and with Deng and Noah still a potent second option. Chicago have an ark of options two by two. With the growth of super sophomores Taj Gibson and James Johnson and talent from 1 to 15, expect this number 7 team of the year to be even higher in 2011. Sure right now in the East it's Boston and Orlando's time but the Bulls will soon join the Heat as some of the hottest contenders not just in the East but in the league period. TIM DAVID HARVEY

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #8 DALLAS MAVERICKS

Dallas Mavericks Dirk Nowitzki points to a teammate after scoring 2 points in the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on January 24, 2010. The Mavericks defeated the Knicks by 50 points 128-78. UPI/John Angelillo

San Antonio aren't the only Texan team still in championship contention if only a little outside. Sure this other team has been plagued with early playoff exits ever since that infamous one in '07 and they've been written off as old and past it but it's time to put the pens away and keep the windows open. The Dallas Mavericks make the list because they have been the model of consistency and that hasn't changed in twenty ten. Sure the Mavericks may have not won anything, but they are always here or hereabouts. They have no championships but they haven't lost their pride or respect for a second or a series. Dirk Nowitzki is still one of the most versatile forwards ever. A scoring machine who has just passed Larry Legend on the all time list. Jason Kidd is still one of the finer points in the L, while Jason Terry is still one of the greatest spark plug talents in the NBA. With a wide variety of talent from Tyson Chandler to Caron Butler and DeShawn Stevenson, classic coach Rick Carslile has a lot on his dry erase board. Still this team are as unpredictable as their owner. Who knows mogul Mark Cuban just may finally get the chance to light his own cigar. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #9 NEW YORK KNICKS

New York Knicks Forward Amar'e Stoudemire (1) shoots during half action against The Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena, in Miami Florida, December 28,2010. The Miami Heat beat the New York Knicks 106-98..                          UPI/Susan Knowles... Photo via Newscom

We've heard all the New York Knicks jokes and comments before. Still to end this year the Big Apple team bit back, taking bites out of everybody. Thanks to a great, realistic free agency the Knicks signed Amare Stoudemire and changed their 'STAT Quo'. The renaissance man Amare, shook off eye and knee injuries and strapped on his brace and put on his Kareem goggles for some just like old times play. His game again was all new Kanye album, first single. The forward has powered his team to their best start post Ewing. Still it's not just Amare making Madison Square Garden the mecca of basketball again. Raymond Felton is a true point and second option and these 'bockers have a wealth of talent from the hardwood to the pine. There's a flair of Italian also from sharp shooting swinger Danilo Gallinari to run and gun coach D'Antoni's perfect design. More than any team in the L things are more than looking up for the Manhattan squad. Also with free agents to be Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul interested in giving old rival the Miami superfriends a run for their championship money the Knicks future is brighter than Times Square. Time to bring in the new year. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 TEAMS OF 2010: #10 PHOENIX SUNS

Oct 28, 2009; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry (right) talks with forward Amare Stoudemire (1) and guard Steve Nash (13) during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. The Suns defeated the Clippers 109-107. Photo via Newscom

This top ten list will feature several Western Conference contenders who still, despite being written off have a wide open window of opportunity. Phoenix are one such team who are far from the ashes. These Suns may be old but they aren't burnt out. Like their leader Steve Nash they just keep going at a high level. Sure Stoudemire may be gone, along with Richardson in a recent trade but now Vince Carter is making Air Phoenix his carrier. He joins like for like legendary heir Grant Hill who still turns back the clock and makes up for all the years his promising career spent on ice. Complete with a Lopez twin who's coming into his own and a worthy coach and bench this team is solid this team is still well rounded. In 2010 they also made it to the Western finals only to be beaten by Ron Artest (finally) and his eventual NBA champion Lakers. Phoenix are still burning bright as one of the best teams this year. To add to that the donning of those 'Los Suns' jerseys in protest of Arizona immigration laws was probably the classiest gesture that any team in the NBA has made in recent years. These Sun's truly are a team with heart. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

THROUGH THE WIRE: FRIDAY (12/31/10)

Boston Celtics Kevin Garnett reacts after dunking against the Washington Wizards during the first quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 10, 2009. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn Photo via Newscom

24. Kevin Garnett was injured Wednesday during a Boston Celtics road game against the Detroit Pistons. The Celtics feared the worst as the MRI read negative, however 'Da Kid's' injury is just a sprain. The tough competitor will miss around a fortnight however for a team in desperate need of some healthy news as top player Rajon Rondo is also out. G.M. Danny Ainge told press, "It's just a muscle – I say just – but it's a muscle injury, a strained calf. It's actually the muscle just off the side of the leg, just below the knee, and it's not anything to do with his knee, which is great news." So the Celtics sure are relieved but they'll need some strong bench play in his relief as the Celtics will miss Garnett's passion and all round game for two weeks.

Dec 8, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) reacts during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. The Lakers defeated the Clippers 87-86. Photo via Newscom

48. The second returns for the votes for the 2011 All-Star Game have been announced. The games (which will be played in L.A.) votes are right now led by Laker, Kobe Bryant. The legendary shooting guard has a whopping 1,153,694 votes. Out West Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant is right behind Mamba with 735,521 votes. Filling out the rest of the west Chris Paul (585,690) leads all points, while 602,516 fans want Carmelo Anthony at the other forward spot. Although he probably can't play due to injury, Yao Ming is still the fans (Chinese especially) favourite for the centre position with 637,527. Still however Kobe's Laker teammate Andrew Bynum isn't far behind with 376,283 returns. Lake Show star's Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are still in contention two. Out East Dwight Howard leads all centres with 988,572 votes, followed by his daddy Shaq with 410,663. Two-time All-Star MVP LeBron James, leads the forwards with 969,459 votes along with Boston's Kevin Garnett (712,555). LeBron's teammate Wade leads all guards in the east with 38,402 votes while Garnett's teammate Rajon Rondo is next with 777,310. I think it's safe to say that all these guys will make it to STAPLES.

48794, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA Wednesday December 29 2010. Lil Wayne (red baseball cap) keeps a close eye on Lakers star Kobe Bryant as he watches his favourite team the New Orlean s Hornets lose to the LA Lakers at the New Orleans Superdrome. The Lakers beat the Hornets 103 to 88, breaking a three-game losing steak for the west coast team. Wayne real name Dwayne Michael Carter and also nicknamed Weezy grew up in the Hollygrove district of New Orleans and has returned home for the festive holidays following his recent stint in prison. Weezy s time behind bars doesn t appear to have harmed his recording career. 6 Foot to 7 Foot , his first single since his release, debuted at No 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and hit the No 1 spot on iTunes this month. It comes from his highly anticipated album Tha Carter IV , which will be released in February 2011. Photograph: Paul Harris, PacificCoastNews.com

(GAME RECOGNISES GAME: '6, 7' hit man Lil' Wanye watches the 6, 7 Bryant do his thing against his New Orleans)

82. Speaking of Kobe, the Lakers where in need of a post new year victory to close out a bad end to 2010. They found resolution in a 103-88 win over the New Orleans Hornets last night. The Lakers where in need of a change and potential All-Star and sixth man of the year, Lamar Odom came off the bench scoring a team high 24. This is the first time since former player's Tierre Brown 27 in 2005 that a bench player has led the Lakers in scoring. After a week of frustration the Lake Show's bench was seen giggling like school children when Odom got fancy in the paint and then missed a finger roll, only to put it back home with a jam. Odom himself was in high spirits two saying, "It's funny that a play like that happens in New Orleans, basketball is almost like jazz, right?" It sure is and L.O. and L.A. made sweet music in N.O. Kobe Bryant also notched 20 while Odom's starter replacement Andrew Bynum had 18. Pau Gasol was yet again double trouble for the opposition with 11 and 12. "We played much better. We executed much better. Our defense did an excellent job," Kobe said, putting the past week, critics and write offs behind him and his whole team.

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki adjust the protective elbow pad on his right elbow against the Denver Nuggets during the first quarter at the Pepsi Center in Denver on December 27, 2009. Dallas and Denver lead their respective divisions. UPI/Gary C. Caskey.. Photo via Newscom

O.T. Garnett's not the only star versatile forward out. Dirk Nowitzki will miss the Mavs Texan clash with San Antonio thanks to a sprained knee...Tyreke Evans may have had injury trouble but last night he played and played big, beating the buzzer, O.J. Mayo and the Grizzlies with a halfcourt heave...Houston's Chuck Hayes is another player who will miss time for his Texan team. The talented player sprained his knee during practice, he could miss around a fortnight to a month...also Oklahoma's Cole Aldrich will miss some NBA play as the Thunder have assigned him back to the D-League. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

THROUGH THE WIRE: THURSDAY (12/30/10)

Oct 14, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony (15) during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center. The Nuggets defeated the Clippers 100-95. Photo via Newscom

24. With all the injury news that 'Through The Wire' has been reporting of late, it's refreshing to see some returns. Charlotte Bobcats slashing, swingman, Gerald Wallace will return to help his purring 'Cats after a five game spell on ice. Also Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony is expected to play his first game today following a family tragedy. We wish the brave star all the best on his return. Our thoughts are with him and his family. To all those who have wished him well, Carmelo has expressed thanks for "the outpouring of love and support".

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 20: O.J. Mayo (L) #32 of the USC Trojans congratulates Michael Beasley #30 of the Kansas State Wildcats after Kansas State's 80-67 win over USC during the Midwest Region first round of the 2008 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament on March 20, 2008 at the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

(Mayo & Bease at the NCAA Midwest Region, back in '08, before the big time)

48. The Minnesota Timberwolves are looking to collect even more top Class of 2008 Rookies. It has been reported that the team that picked up Michael Beasley this summer are looking to trade for the Memphis Grizzzlies O.J. Mayo. Minnesota garnished O.J.'s rights to Memphis back on draft day for the 20 and 10 machine, Kevin Love but now it appears the Wolves wish they could have both choices. Right now the rising star Mayo is frustrated that he has to come off the bench and is looking for a change. The Timberwolves have a lot of talent they can send the Grizzlies way and with the worst record out West they two need a change. Things could look up for Minnesota however. Spanish supreme, Ricky Rubio has given his word that he will come to Minny next year, (lockout pending). With all this talent of Love, Bease, Rubio and possibly Mayo the Wolves could contend sooner than later. Although their record stinks right now they have had some impressive outings this year, especially against the Lakers. If this deal comes off I'm coining the nickname 'The Yearbook' for Minnesota's '08 talent tandem. Now if they could just get Derrick Rose.

BEIJING - AUGUST 24: LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers takes part in a promotional event during a visit to China on August 24, 2009 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images)

82. LeBron is apologising! Settle down Cleveland fans not to you. Devin Harris this one is for you. The King has clarified remarks he made about contraction and the NBA. After referring to the L as "watered down" James insisted that he, "didn't mean to upset anybody". After what was perceived as, referring to lesser teams being eliminated to offer better teams and opportunities for guys like Harris, Kevin Love and Brook Lopez (no love for Rob, 'Bron?) LeBron got complimentary but also patronising in some peoples perspectives. The man who considers signing with his friend Jay-Z's Nets insist that he wasn't talking about shutting these teams down NBA.com reports. James says he "didn't say let's abandon the Nets and not let them move to Brooklyn, or let's tear down the Target Center in Minnesota. I never said that. Never said that, all right." Well all right. King, your all right with me.

December 23, 2008: Mo Williams of the Cavs drives around Rafer Alston of the Rockets during an NBA Basketball game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Houston Rockets at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, OH..The Cavaliers won their 14th straight home game 99-90..Ernie Aranyosi / CSM Photo via Newscom

O.T. There's even more adoration for Kevin Love as the Denver Nuggets said they inquired about K. Love during the Summer...the Nuggets also will be happy to get Anthony back but forward Al Harrington is still expected to miss a couple of games yet...Rondo continues to miss time for Boston, he was absent in Motown against Detroit, as was the Pistons star guard Stuckey...if you thought it couldn't get any worse for injuries (or the Cavs), Mo Williams is out. Mo Will has suffered a hip flexor...the Lakers are slumping a little bit now and the media are going crazy, writing them off but Phil Jackson is playing it all off saying it's too early to talk about seeding. he has however talked about the need for Pau Gasol to get tough again. Hang on! Didn't this warrior play through injury and almost every frontcourt position when Bynum, Ratliff and every other player above 6,9 was injured? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

THROUGH THE WIRE: WEDNESDAY (12/29/10)

SAN ANTONIO - JANUARY 23:  Guard Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives the hoop against Tim Duncan #21 of the San Antonio Spurs on January 23, 2008 at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

24. Things are getting worse for the Lakers between Christmas and New Year. After hosting Miami in a turkey of a loss on December 25th, the Lake Show fell to the San Antonio Spurs last night. Tony Parker had 23 as the leagues best (27-4) dropped L.A. to a 20-11 record. Kobe dropped 21 but he also missed 13 straight shots en route to a 8-27 night. Bryant told press in his trademark short answers that he was mad at himself and Derek Fisher also had a hot head picking up a technical in the game for getting into it with San An's Richard Jefferson. The Lakers really aren't looking themselves right now. Meanwhile the Spurs have never looked better feeling like their old selves again.

DENVER - FEBRUARY 18:  NBA athlete Earl Boykins of the Denver Nuggets arrives at the Air Jordan XX Launch Party at Rise Nightclub on February 18, 2005 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

48. Another usually tip top professional Point Guard is acting out of character. Earl Boykins has picked up a little suspension after bumping a referee during a loss against the Atlanta Hawks. Boykins will miss a game without pay after his intended contact. Earl bumped official Brian Forte and was issued a tech but not an eject. Boykins is one of the L's good guys and apologised immediately. "Earl apologized the very second it happened, then he apologized again. He apologized to Brian," Coach Scott Skiles said. "Again, the league knows Earl is not in any way a malicious character or anything like. But on the other hand, the league has rules that you can't cross and we understand that as well." With Brandon Jennings out at the point as well Milwaukee will have to rely on some swingmen.

Sacramento Kings Tyreke Evans and Omir Casspi (R) react after the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on February 9, 2010. The Kings defeated the Knicks 118-114 in overtime. UPI/John Angelillo

82. A lot of players are in the wars right now in the NBA, more top players may have to reach deep into their collection of suits as injuries are taking their toll. Reigning Rookie Of The Year Tyreke Evans has struggled this year and now you can add a knee injury to his troubles. Evans may need surgery and months away from the game. The Mavs hot shooting and scoring, Dirk Nowitzki also has day to day knee troubles with a sprain. Ankle injuries have also caused Marcus Camby to sit and Rajon Rondo to miss his fifth straight for his Celtics. Also the downtrodden Toronto Raptors are looking depleted right now. Still this didn't stop them from overcoming Dallas even without star guard Jose Calderon.

Miami Heat Forward Dwayne Wade (3) excites the crowd during half action against The Cleveland Cavaliers at the American Airlines Arena, in Miami Florida, December 15, 2010.  .                          UPI/Susan Knowles... Photo via Newscom

O.T. After Larry Browns departure last week, legendary coach Paul Silas hopes to turn around things for his new Charlotte Bobcats...Wade continues his and Miami's hot streak showing the Knicks what they missed dropping 40 in a win...Paul Pierce continues his and the Celtics hot streak pacing the team with 21 against Indiana...Orlando pulled 19 3-pointers out of their bag of tricks against Cleveland...while Boozer continued his and Chi-towns rise with his 24 in the Chicago Bulls win against the Milwaukee Bucks. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Monday, 27 December 2010

THROUGH THE WIRE: TUESDAY (12/28/10)

Miami Heat forward LeBron James drives to the net against the Boston Celtics in the second half of the opening night game at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on October 26, 2010. UPI/Matthew Healey Photo via Newscom

24. The NBA players of the week for games played Monday, Dec. 20, through Sunday, Dec. 26 have been named. After a big Christmas Day triple serving and a great week for Miami, LeBron James has taken the Eastern honors. The Heat are finally looking like the team they are meant to be winning 14 out of the last 15 games, behind 'Bron's 27.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 2.33 steals per. James play helped the Heat to a 2-1 record. Out in the Pacific, the Golden State Warriors posted a 2-1 record also due to the Western player of the week, Monta Ellis. Monta mounted an amazing 39.7 points per game. He also averaged 7.0 assists and 3.0 steals and even posted a brilliant 44 points in the Warriors one loss to the Houston Rockets. Congratulations to both guys.

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming (11) waits to come in to the game against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on October 26, 2010. The Lakers won 112 to 110. UPI/Lori Shepler Photo via Newscom

48. What happened to loyalty? After the Houston Rockets asked the NBA for a contract exception on their injured star Yao Ming last week they are now looking to trade their legend away. The Rocket may not play again but still Houston are looking to unload his $17 million expiring contract. Houston may even trade the player, then re-sign him for a smaller contract. They will look to move Ming before February's trade deadline and build a team around what they get in return and great guard, Aaron Brooks. Either way the Rockets will have to do something soon as they and Yao are running out of options. Still after the reign of this Ming dynasty you can't help think, where's the love?

NEW YORK - MARCH 30: Steve Francis arrives for the Coca-Cola Campaign Launch Of 'Coke Side Of Life' at Capitale on March 30, 2006 in New York, NY. (Photo by Scott Wintrow/Getty Images)

82. Things aren't looking great for Yao Mings former sidekick Steve Francis either. China may be working for Stephon Marbury but it doesn't seem to be made for the Franchise. After just 13 days, 14 minutes per and only 0.5 points to go along with that Francis is done with Chinese side, Beijing Shougang Ducks. According to Steve's agent the team released, the speedy, talented high scoring guard as things just didn't work out. Things looked good at the start as Francis' affiliations with Chinese legend Yao helped his reputation, but since his arrival a number of situations have led to attitude problems. It's a shame that Steve's basketball career has been on a downward spiral, he was such a big talent in the NBA and can still play. Still things have been rocky in his latter NBA days, from being re-signed then released by the Rockets and his telling SLAM magazine that due to his various business enterprises he didn't need basketball. Let's hope Francis isn't done with a comeback and basketball stays on his mind. Who knows? Things could look peachy again.

ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 14: NBA player Shaquille O'Neal in the audience during the NBA All-Star Game held at Cowboys Stadium on February 14, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

O.T. Shaq has been fined $35K for criticising refs, he better blow the whistle on anymore comments...Miami and L.A. really where a big attraction this year as the NBA Christmas Day ratings set T.V. records...the San An Spurs are looking at the best record in the NBA again...meanwhile the Detroit Pistons are struggling away from Motown...the Lakers have assigned Trevor Ariza, lookalike, play-a-like Devin Ebanks to the NBA's development league...without Carmelo the Nuggets fell to Philly but still our thoughts are with Anthony during this tragic time...the Cavs have waived backup forward Jawad Williams...finally the Clippers beat the Suns in a Western clash...which is a good sign as it looks like star guard Baron Davis wants to stick around. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

STARTING 5 FOR 2010-TEAM OF THE YEAR

CENTRE: DWIGHT HOWARD

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard sits on the bench during the second quarter against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center in Chicago on January 2, 2010. UPI/Brian Kersey Photo via Newscom

He has the biggest smile and personality in the league today. He dons Superman capes for dunk contest, sings at the free throw line, dances and jokes at every opportunity and he's even cameo's in movies and released an album. The Shaq parallels are huge and just like the most dominant ever Dwight Howard must be taken seriously. He aint no joke. Don't let the warm persona fool you Howard's a cold competitor. Still the best physical specimen in the L, with two handers, put backs and rebounds for days and games. OK he isn't as good as they say...he's better. His Orlando Magic team are true contenders and not a Disneyland, Mickey Mouse act. He may have talent around him but it all starts and ends with him. He may act like his jersey size, but his game goes beyond his years as he matures and morphs into a Shaq/Bill Russell hybrid. Besides 'Fast Don't Lie', so save the talk. Dwight Howard's going to sing.

POWER FORWARD: AMARE STOUDEMIRE

New York Knicks Amar'e Stoudemire dunks over Toronto Raptors Linas Kleiza in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 8, 2010. The Knicks defeated the Raptors 113-110.   UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

It didn't look great for this power player years back...literally. One eye operation and a couple of knees up beforehand, this guy was spending more time on x-ray boards than low post ones. Still that's a thing of the past now as Amare Stoudemire has braced up and is now rocking goggles that make him look like the T-Horace Grant 1000. It all looked the same for the New York Knicks last year, once again Madison Square Garden looked like the crapper of basketball but then the Knicks upped their STAT's. Stoudemire looks like the old him, power dunking, power blocking, power boarding and power steering his way back to greatness. It's the kind of plays that make Michael Olowakandi poster. It's the kind of performances that make good on the promise to make Knick basketball relevant again. It's the kind of power that makes MSG fans say LeBron who? That's Amare!

SMALL FORWARD: LEBRON JAMES

Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) raises his arms up against the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on December 25, 2010.  UPI/Lori Shepler Photo via Newscom

From Cleveland to Miami LeBron James witnessed a change in his status from love to hate. Still one thing didn't change about the guy as he switched teams, his brilliant all round play. The swingman furthered the development of his all round game. The player who can play point but also has the power of a forward muscled his way to greatness with more classic NBA moments. Then in another moment of televised decision, love it or loathe it the 'Bron showed how dominant he really is. How can one man have so much power? Because he's the king.

SHOOTING GUARD: KOBE BRYANT

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant carries the ball against Washington Wizards during the second quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 14, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Leading his Los Angeles Lakers to a second straight NBA Championship Kobe Bryant once again cemented his status as best in the NBA, furthering his legend as one of the best ever to do it. Sure Kobe had a lot more help than usual but still number 24 looked more and more like number 23 in his dominance of the game. Kobe put on his fifth championship ring (one less than Jordan) but he couldn't even fit it on his swollen finger. Kobe didn't just carry his team he carried injury after injury as he played through the pain en route to comfortable victory. Where else can you put the best but number one? Said and done!

POINT GUARD: RAJON RONDO

With the game almost decided, Boston Celtics starters Paul Pierce (L) Rajon Rondo, and Kevin Garnett (R) return to the court against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on February 21, 2010 in Denver. Northwest division leader Denver beat Atlantic division leader Boston 114-105. UPI/Gary C. Caskey

Critics for years have been talking about who's the best point guard in the L, Deron Williams, Chris Paul or Nash. Water cooler experts have been talking about the importance of the Boston Celtics big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Still over the last two years the name Rajon Rondo has gone through the NBA's four P's, potential, promise, prominence and power. The former raw backup given the reigns of a championship squad is now the reams centrepiece. As 'Jesus', 'Da Kid' and 'The Truth' age Rondo just keeps getting better and better and more like the teams franchise player. He can score, dish, provide D and has as much savvy as an off court baller, but on the floor Rondo is shines instead of shimmering. Get the point? No, well put it this way the name Rajon Rondo belongs in critics and water cooler experts guarded debate. Whether in the mix or right there on top, like his Celtics could still be. Don't rule anything out, this guys headband and shoulders above the rest.

SIXTH MAN: DWYANE WADE

Miami Heat Dwyane Wade dunks on a fast break against the Washington Wizards during the first quarter at the Verizon Center in Washington on November 4, 2009. UPI/Alexis C. Glenn Photo via Newscom

D. Wade came a long way from being taken off the floor in a wheelchair the season before last and we're talking more than the All-Star MYP award. This year Wade has been one of the best players you could have on your franchise, in more ways than one. Not only has Wade's world been a place that makes acrobatic, difficult and clutch shots again it's also been one of the best destinations for basketball. Dwyane once again became the leagues best general as he dominated the floor for his Miami Heat squad and also rallied in some troops of real strong company. Things where looking promising in Miami then in a flash things where fulfilled with a BANG! LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach. There has been more than enough three months ago of talk, opinion and hate about this superteam but as the voltron formed critics and fans alike forgot to recognise one thing. Dwyane Wade may just be the best recruiter there is. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

THROUGH THE WIRE: MONDAY (12/27/10)

Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) drives around Los Angeles Lakers small forward Ron Artest (15) in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles on December 25, 2010. UPI/Lori Shepler Photo via Newscom

24. It really is getting turbulent right now in Los Angeles. Up on the high def jumbo-tron you could see clearly that the Lakers curbed Larry David's enthusiasm. Him, Snoop Dogg, will.i.am, Sly Stallone and the rest of the Hollywood faithful may have felt like they had something better to do this Christmas after the Lake Show gave them a real turkey. Following a big win with his Cleveland Cavs last year, King James again made the defending champions look like paupers and pretenders to the throne as he led his new Miami Heat team to a 96-80 win. Get ready to throw those foam fingers! The Heat cooled off the Lakers behind James tripling up with, 27 points, 11 rebounds, 10 assists and Bosh's double dose of 24 points and 13 rebounds. The one thing that was hot about the Lakers was Kobe's head a he was whistled for three technicals in as many quarters. Rules or no rules, he had a right to be angry though as the Lakers play was frustrating. Kobe and Gasol mustered 17 points each. Could this be the sign of things to come? A precursor to the finals maybe? Or are the Lakers merely just getting less merry with every Christmas day game? One this for sure the Lakers need to get back on course because the tidings are changing. Time for them to get right and resolute for the new year.

Jan. 30, 2010: Portland Trailblazers guard Andre Miller scored a career high 52 points is defended by Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Juan Barea during an NBA game between the Portland Trailblazers and the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX Portland defeated Dallas in OT 114-112.

48. SLAM Online are reporting that the New Jersey Nets may be interested in Portland Blazers point guard, Andre Miller. Miller has been dependable and talented over the years as he is one of the better points in the league. The Nets have not forgot about 'Dre. As the team look to swing a big trade to get Millers former Denver teammate Carmelo Anthony, New Jersey are exploring using the Blazers as part of a blockbuster multi-team trade. This deal could involve Jersey losing the talented Derrick Favors and Troy Murphy to Denver and also top Point Guard, Devin Harris to Portland. A potential deal pincher is that Denver want Portland young Trail Blazer, Nicolas Batum. A versatile player the team isn't willing to give up. Will they budge? Who is this trade good for? If anybody? Sound off in our comments section below.

Dec 20, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love (42) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) at the Staples Center. The Clippers defeated the Timberwolves 113-90. Photo via Newscom

82. It looks like LeBron James may be rubbing up the NBA powers that be up the wrong way now. The King has another decision, or should we say opinion. He is loving the idea of more stars playing together like his new 'superfriends' and has suggested that the NBA would be better off eliminating teams. Not a fan of the Charlotte Bobcats then, hey 'Bron? James seems to want the scrubs out and one player he wants to see on a non, cellar dweller team is talented forward Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Love obviously appreciates the gesture and isn't hating, but he isn't exactly in agreement either. "Those are interesting comments," the league leading rebounder said, but he also put up this, "I didn't really pay too much attention to it. I just figure that when the time comes with the CBA, the owners and players and everybody involved will make their decision. I didn't really think much of it." Kev is obviously a fan of the new Miami Heat team as he expressed his adoration for watching star players suit up together. "I don't see it happening, but it was fun when you used to watch certain teams that had certain guys, three or four superstar guys on a team," he added, "That kind of stuff was cool. I understand what he is saying, but you never know until all the negotiations." Love is obviously being careful what he says, but it doesnt sound like he's completely wring off LeBron' idea.

Chicago Bulls' Carlos Boozer shoots against the Washington Wizards during the first half at the Verizon Center in Washington on December 22, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

O.T.: The new Malone/Stockton partnership of Boozer and Rose pick and rolled the Chicago Bulls to victory over the Detroit Pistons in an overtime game. Somewhere Deron Williams is thinking "What about us"...Kevin Love's Minnesota team aren't that bad they won their first in seven thanks to a clutch lay-up by Michael Beasley. Bease' and Love are a great foundation, no elimination needed...Dallas coach, Rick Carlisle has been in the wars this year and will now miss time with a knee injury. It's a good job he doesn't play anymore, still Mavs Jason Kidd should have some knee rehab advice...meanwhile last year reigning East champs Boston's brilliant 14 game win streak came to an end thanks to the Eastern best of the year before, the Orlando Magic. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 NBA MOMENTS OF THE YEAR

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208502 The Los Angeles Lakers celebrate after the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics 83-79 to win their 16th NBA Championship at the Staples Center in Los Angeles California, USA 17 June 2010.

#1. MAKING IT A DOUBLE: Nothing quite says 'we did it' like winning the NBA championship after an up and down season, injuries, hard fought series' and an epic 7 game duel with the Boston Celtics. The Lake Show made it a double by successfully defending their 2009 NBA Championship. Trophy two was sweet as the Lakers are now spurred on for a three peat conclusion to the trilogy. Do back to backs make dynasty's? Just like Magic said in the 80's after his "Yeah, YEAH!"

Phoenix Suns Steve Nash wears the Los Suns jersey which is indicative of the immigration controversy in Arizona during the first quarter of Game 2 of the second round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs at the US Airways Center, in Phoenix, AZ, May 5,2010. UPI/Art Foxall Photo via Newscom

#2. PHOENIX SUNS BECOME LOS LEADERS: Those limited edition 'Los' Spanish NBA jerseys are no new thing. Everyone wears them (it gets especially confusing when the 'Los Lakers' wear them) They are as almost as common place as throwback jersey game nights. Still, when the Phoenix rocked them for a Western finals game against the San Antonio Spurs they had something more to say then simply that the NBA cares. Talk about great, meaningful stories in the NBA filled with heart. Showing pride and passion in their support Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and the rest of the Phoenix squad repped hard in their protest against Arizona immigration laws. The Suns burnt a message into the public consciousness and the powers that be (and we aren't talking about the NBA governess) and their playoff win just made it even more potent. Now who says politics has no place in sports? Phoenix showed that the camaraderie of sports can be a great medium to help bring people together even more. In a strict league the Suns broke down barriers and illuminated the down trodden and forgotten. Now what's bigger then that?

Jul 07, 2010 - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - A giant billboard on the side of a building in downtown Cleveland on the eve of Lebron James's announcement on his decision for the future.

#3. DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Loathe or hate it, LeBron's decision was one of the biggest and most defining moments of the year. He changed business and sports in the space of a one hour television show...and people said it was pointless. As LeBron took his talents to South Beach he joined forces with fellow big free agents Chris Bosh and Dywane Wade for the Miami Heat. He formed a big three set to dominate the league and the trophy cabinet. At the same time 'Bron showed he was the king of self promotion and marketing ushering in a new way for free agents to deal with themselves. He may have rubbed a lot of people the wrong way but at the same time he more than scratched the surface of how dominant one man could be in all fields with real, power player moves. I guess he really can throw that Roc sign now. Basketballs Jay-Z is his own dynasty.

Jun. 08, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02192925 Los Angeles Lakers' Derek Fisher (Right-Center) goes to the basket as Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (L) and Celtics' Kendrick Perkins (R) defends during the first half of game three of the NBA Finals at TD Gardens in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 08 June 2010. The series is even at 1-1 for the best of seven games.

#4. THE FISH THAT KEEPS SAVING L.A.: Derek Fishers always been as good as Robert Horry was in the clutch but this year he's been as good as Kobe. Most recently he even switched it up, driving in for a game winning layup against the Clippers away at Staples last month. Still it was Derek's fourth quarter heroics in game 3 of the finals at the Celtics garden that defined his year and kept L.A. in a series they where losing grasp of...fast. This momentum changer steered the course for his team and kept hope alive. It felt like last year in Orlando all over again. Sure this guy isn't as quick as other guards but who in the league is clutch like him. He may not be as big a player as Kobe, Gasol or even Shaq but when it's all said and hung up, one things for sure this number 2 jersey has to be retired.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 14: Head coach George Karl of the Denver Nuggets receives the ESPY Perseverance Award onstage during the 2010 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 14, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

#5. GEORGE KARLS 1,000Th RETURN: Every year there are always great comeback stories in the NBA but none where sweeter then George Karl's. After successfully beating cancer, Coach Karl made a triumphant return to the sidelines and dry erases for the Denver Nuggets. Then as if that wasn't enough, Karl reached his 1,000Th career win putting himself in real prestigious company. Phil Jackson, Pat Riley type company. Sure Denver still have no idea what will happen with Carmelo Anthony but one things for sure, their coach isn't going anywhere but the record books. Don't call it a comeback, Karl's been fighting for years

Feb. 12, 2010 - Dallas, United States - epa02028573 Tyreke Evans (back) goes for a rebound against Brandon Jennings (L) Anthony Morrow (C) and Kevin Love (top) during the first half of NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge game at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas, USA, 12 February 2010.

#6. THREE ROOKIE RACE: With yet another great rookie class this year, the race to the rookie of the year award was wide open. Still three of the leagues finest stallions galloped to the finish line, but only one could win, (it's been a long time since Elton Brand and Steve Francis shared the award). This year, (after avoiding league age limitations in Europe the previous season), Brandon Jennings returned to America in a big way, manning the point and Milwaukee's postseason chances. The youngster played like a season vet and after standing up himself he delivered like Karl Malone dishing assists. Step Curry of the Golden State Warriors also had a triumphant year, despite battling injury. The star proved he was just as good in the backcourt as Monta Ellis, who himself proved seasons prior that he was just as good as Baron Davis. Despite all being deserving of the throne, the real Rookie of the Year was Tyreke Evans. The new 'Big O' and Mitch Richmond is already a star. Need proof? How about statistics of 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assist at least per. The only others to average these as rookies were Oscar, LeBron and Mike. Now you no 'Reke belongs with esteemed company.

Apr. 22, 2010 - Oklahoma City, OKLAHOMA, UNITED STATES - epa02128560 Oklahoma City Thunder player Kevin Durant (R) celebrates with teammate Russell Westbrook (L) after beating the Los Angeles Lakers in the second half of their Western Conference first round playoff game at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma USA, 22 April 2010. The Oklahoma City Thunder won 101-96.

#7. THE THUNDERS STORM: It's criminal that we at 'BASKETBALL 24/48/82' neglected to put Kevin Durant in out top 5 players of 2010, let alone out top 10. Still all we can say is sorry and charge it to our minds and not our hearts, mistakes happen. You see Durant and his Oklahoma City team have had such a great year, that even die hard Sonics fans have to be left thinking, Seattle who? You see, the young K.D. has moved himself right between LeBron and Carmelo as the heir to Kobe's throne. Plus with the underrated (because they play alongside him) but undeniable talent of Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green, the Thunder have extended their reign to the contender park. They even almost knocked Kobe and his eventual champion Laker out of a series that was nearly as thrilling and arguably as tough for the Lakers as their final one against a championed, seasoned Celtic team. With this the young talent of Durant and his young team proved they could hang with the big, older boys. All that's left for top player K.D. is for him to become one of the best all time and all that's left for his top team is to gun for a championship. Now isn't that a lot to look forward to and we're sorry Kevin, we hope this makes up. Oh yeah, and let's not forget and look foolish again, Durant led the league in scoring this year, taking the trophy with 30.1 per. The youngest to ever do it at 21, need we say anymore?

New York Knicks Amar'e Stoudemire and Danilo Gallinari slap hands after a time out is called in the third quarter against the Boston Celtics in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 15, 2010. The Celtics defeated the Knicks 118-116.   UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

#8. THE NEW, NEW YORK KNICKS: No longer are New York's basketball franchise a rotten apple, playing the worlds worst basketball in the worlds most famous arena. It almost became an enjoyable addition for MSG fans to be frustrated with their beloved, for worse, Knickerbockers. Still Mike D'Antoni began ushering in a new reign seasons ago that didn't start and end with Eddy Curry. With dead weight being dropped and shipped and talent being brought in things looked better for the Knicks last year. From former N.C. guards making N.Y. points to Italians suiting up nicely. Still it was when the new Big Apple favourites hit the free agent market that they hit big. Sure they may have missed Wade and James but they landed Amare Stoudemire early and boy has he been a game changer, for the win column that is. It can even be argued that Amare was more of a player this team needed as he has given the previous donut franchise some STAT's upfront. Now the Knicks are finally looking at playoffs and maybe even Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul two. Even with New Jerseys move to Brooklyn still up in the air, things are looking even better for New York basketball.

Feb. 14, 2010 - Dallas, China - (100215) -- DALLAS, Feb. 15, 2010 (Xinhua) -- East All-Star Dwyane Wade (C) shoots the ball during the 2010 NBA All-Star Game against the West in Dallas, Texas, the United States, Feb. 14, 2010. The East won the game 141-139. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun.

#9. RECORD BREAKING ALL-STARS: Sure it was great to see Paul Pierce win the three point shot contest and despite what critics said the dunk contest was good, (always amazing watching Nate's hops). Still the best thing about the 2010 All-Star Weekend in was the game itself. The American Airlines arena may be nice but Dallas opted for their NFL teams Cowboys Arena to have a court put in it to showcase the event. In the Superbowl of the NBA this game broke records. 108, 713 fans took their seat for this game which was the largest crowd ever for a basketball game. The game wasn't all style two as this landmark game had substance. Sure Kobe may have missed it but everyone was on hand to watch an East, West, 141-139 thriller (it wasn't just the attendance that was high). The leagues best put on a back-and-forth, competitive show for a change in a dream game. Dywane Wade took home the MVP honors, leading his team to victory. Even so, however, on this special night every athlete playing reached their own milestone in becoming a part of history.

Boston Celtics Paul Pierce talks to head coach Doc Rivers in the second quarter of a pre season game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on October 13, 2010.    UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

#10. P's DOUBLE KEEPS HIM TRUE: Everyones championship favourites are always the Lakers, or now Miami, or perhaps the Magic. Still people keep doubting the brilliant Boston Celtic team, writing this talent off as old, even if they add a couple of O'Neal's to their Celtic Irish mix. Still, however Boston continue to defy age and critics, with Garnett playing like 'Da Kid' and Ray Allen dropping miracles like Jesus and let's not get started on how good Rondo is. With all this said and done it's the current Celtics longest serving member that's remained the truth. Paul Pierce is still one of the most, talented, dangerous and smart players in the league. During the preseason Pierce put a hole in the rejuvenated New York Knicks as his buzzer winner at Madison Square Garden sealed the victory for Boston. Back in New York in the regular season, during a classic game for the ages, P made it a double. Same situation, same shot, same buzzer beater and same celebration. This time however it counted even more and not just for the box score. Paul proved that he and his team had a lot more than just a little life and fight in them. Now let's see just how much come June. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Saturday, 25 December 2010

TAKE 5-TOP LAKER MOMENTS OF 2010

(Originally published on sister site, 'LAKE SHOW VIEW')

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208504 Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (C) holds up the MVP trophy and the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy as teammates cheer on after defeating the Boston Celtics in game seven of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 June 2010. The Lakers defeated the Celtics 83-79 to win their 16th championships.

1. MAKING IT A DOUBLE: Nothing quite says 'we did it' like winning the NBA championship after an up and down season, injuries, hard fought series' and an epic 7 game duel with the Boston Celtics. The Lake Show made it a double by successfully defending their 2009 NBA Championship. Trophy two was sweet as the Lakers are now spurred on for a three peat conclusion to the trilogy. Do back to backs make dynasty's? Just like Magic said in the 80's after his "Yeah, YEAH!"

Jun. 09, 2010 - Boston, MASSACHUSETTS, UNITED STATES - epa02194206 Los Angeles Lakers player Derek Fisher during press conference the day after game three of the NBA Finals at TD Gardens in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 09 June 2010. The Los Angeles Lakers lead the series at 2-1 for the best of seven games.

2. THE FISH THAT KEEPS SAVING L.A.: Derek Fishers always been as good as Robert Horry was in the clutch but this year he's been as good as Kobe. Most recently he even switched it up, driving in for a game winning layup against the Clippers away at Staples last month. Still it was Derek's fourth quarter heroics in game 3 of the finals at the Celtics garden that defined his year and kept L.A. in a series they where losing grasp of...fast. This momentum changer steered the course for his team and kept hope alive. It felt like last year in Orlando all over again. Sure this guy isn't as quick as other guards but who in the league is clutch like him. He may not be as big a player as Kobe, Gasol or even Shaq but when it's all said and hung up, one things for sure this number 2 jersey has to be retired.

Apr 21, 2009 - Los Angeles, California, USA - NBA Basketball: Laker KOBE BRYANT #24 celebrates after hitting a three point shot in the fourth quarter as the Lakers beat the Jazz 119-109 during game two of a first round Western Conference playoff basketball game between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Tuesday April 21, 2009 in Los Angeles Photo via Newscom

3. KOBE, KOBE. KOBE: Forget chanting 'M-V-P. M-V-P. M-V-P' saying Kobe's name three times is dominant enough. The guys just goes from strength to strength and ring to ring, all whilst playing through injury after injury. This year Kobe only hit seven buzzer beating, game winners, including one so epic against Miami that even Dywane Wade liked it. Not only that but Kobe became the Lakers all time leading scorer (and where talking about a team that the NBA all time leading scorer played for) and hit 26,000 points. Oh and he just happened to be his dominant, legendary self leading and even at times coaching his team to another championship, and they didn't give him the MVP! It's OK though he took something else.

May 27, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02176395 The Lakers celebrate forward Ron Artest winning shot at the end of game five of the NBA Western Conference Final in Los Angeles, California, USA, 27 May 2010. The Lakers win 103-101 to take the lead three games to two in the best of seven series.

4. DON'T SHOOT: During the fourth quarter of a pivotal, playoff game against the Phoenix Suns the ball was kicked out to Ron Artest who was at the elbow of the three point line. He spotted and set up but shot an awful shot. It was OK however as Gasol corralled the rebound only to fire it back out to Ron for a 'here buddy try again' moment. What could of been seen as a great moment ended up sounding like brickwork and from there nobody wanted Ron to shoot again. Still believe it or not that shot really counted as a fired up Ron wasn't about to let this affect his mental. In the weening seconds of overtime even the clutch Kobe missed a shot, but in game Ron charging like the Bull he once was to awkwardly but assuredly tip the ball in for the game winner and series clincher. Bet everyone was glad he shot now. Even in L.A.'s crucial Game 7 finals game with Boston Ron stole the show and even had the opportunity to shoot for three yet again. As everybody left him open and Phil Jackson's zen told him not to do it, Ron said "forget it" and shot anyway. "BOP"! In it went, now nobodies going to take this guy lightly again.

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208206 Boston Celtics' Rajon Rondo (C) watches Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant (L) grab a loose ball as Lakers' Derek Fisher (R) looks on during the first half of game seven of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 June 2010.

4. THE BEAUTIFUL GAME 7: Game 7 of he 2009/2010 finals against Boston was ugly...so ugly, somewhere Sam Cassell could be seen. Still however this hard fought, nail biting, cringe worthy, brick for basket affair had some real beauty to it. Hard work always looks good and the usual, flashy showtime Lake Show, showed that they could get down like the 80's Detroit Pistons. It was a tough, physical game that at times looked poor. Hey, even Artest and Pierce squaring up to each other looked a bit pathetic. Still when it was all said and done basketball's more passionate and battle worthy side was shown and amongst all the flash and YouTube highlight it was refreshing to see. The Lakers didn't win in style, they won with substance. This close shave was rough around the edges but still a good luck and with sweat soaked jerseys mixed with champagne and victory tears of joy, what's more beautiful then that? TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Friday, 24 December 2010

TOP 10 PLAYERS OF 2010: #1 KOBE BRYANT

June 21, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, United States - epa02215233 Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant gives the thumbs up, as he holds the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, during the Lakers Victory Parade in Los Angeles, California, USA, 21 June 2010. The Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics to claim their second consecutive NBA championship title. Over 500,000 fans lined Figueroa Street as the Lakers players road in flat-bed vehicles through downtown Los Angeles.

Leading his Los Angeles Lakers to a second straight NBA Championship Kobe Bryant once again cemented his status as best in the NBA, furthering his legend as one of the best ever to do it. Sure Kobe had a lot more help than usual but still number 24 looked more and more like number 23 in his dominance of the game. Kobe put on his fifth championship ring (one less than Jordan) but he couldn't even fit it on his swollen finger. Kobe didn't just carry his team he carried injury after injury as he played through the pain en route to comfortable victory. Where else can you put the best but number one? Said and done! TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 PLAYERS OF 2010: #2 LEBRON JAMES

LeBron James talks to the media after The Miami Heat signed free agents LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade to 6 year contracts at the American Airlines Arena in Miami on July 9, 2010. UPI/Michael Bush Photo via Newscom

From Cleveland to Miami LeBron James witnessed a change in his status from love to hate. Still one thing didn't change about the guy as he switched teams, his brilliant all round play. The swingman furthered the development of his all round game. The player who can play point but also has the power of a forward muscled his way to greatness with more classic NBA moments. Then in another moment of televised decision, love it or loathe it the 'Bron showed how dominant he really is. How can one man have so much power? Because he's the king. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 PLAYERS OF 2010: #3 DWYANE WADE

Feb. 14, 2010 - Dallas, China - (100215) -- DALLAS, Feb. 15, 2010 (Xinhua) -- East All-Star Dwyane Wade (L) of the Miami Heat holds up his MVP trophy after the East defeated the West in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game in Dallas, Texas, the United States, Feb. 14, 2010. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun.

(LeBron looks on in Feb to what's to come)

D. Wade came a long way from being taken off the floor in a wheelchair the season before last and we're talking more than the All-Star MYP award. This year Wade has been one of the best players you could have on your franchise, in more ways than one. Not only has Wade's world been a place that makes acrobatic, difficult and clutch shots again it's also been one of the best destinations for basketball. Dwyane once again became the leagues best general as he dominated the floor for his Miami Heat squad and also rallied in some troops of real strong company. Things where looking promising in Miami then in a flash things where fulfilled with a BANG! LeBron James and Chris Bosh took their talents to South Beach. There has been more than enough three months ago of talk, opinion and hate about this superteam but as the voltron formed critics and fans alike forgot to recognise one thing. Dwyane Wade may just be the best recruiter there is. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 PLAYERS OF 2010: #4 RAJON RONDO

Jun. 04, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, United States - epa02187901 Boston Celtics player Rajon Rondo answers questions during a media press conference on the practice day for the NBA Finals at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 04 June 2010. This is the 12th time that the 17 time champion Boston Celtics and the 15 time champion Los Angeles Lakers have met in the 64 year history of the NBA Finals with Boston taking nine of those series.

Critics for years have been talking about who's the best point guard in the L, Deron Williams, Chris Paul or Nash. Water cooler experts have been talking about the importance of the Boston Celtics big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Still over the last two years the name Rajon Rondo has gone through the NBA's four P's, potential, promise, prominence and power. The former raw backup given the reigns of a championship squad is now the reams centrepiece. As 'Jesus', 'Da Kid' and 'The Truth' age Rondo just keeps getting better and better and more like the teams franchise player. He can score, dish, provide D and has as much savvy as an off court baller, but on the floor Rondo is shines instead of shimmering. Get the point? No, well put it this way the name Rajon Rondo belongs in critics and water cooler experts guarded debate. Whether in the mix or right there on top, like his Celtics could still be. Don't rule anything out, this guys headband and shoulders above the rest. TIM DAVID HARVEY.

TOP 10 PLAYERS OF 2010: #5 DERRICK ROSE

ISTANBUL, TYRKEY. SEPTEMBER 13, 2010. USA's Derrick Rose (C) cuts down the net as his teammate Tyson Chandler (R) looks on after the final of the 2010 FIBA World Championship at Istanbul's Sinan Erdem Dome. The US team won the world championship basketball title beating Turkey 81-64. (Photo ITAR-TASS/ Roman Kruchinin) Photo via Newscom

This writer lined up for hours to meet Derrick Rose in London, late 2009 and he was the nervous one. Still even if this guarded point is soft spoken, his game speaks volumes. Guards are supposed to be small but just look at dudes arms. Baby Bulls are supposed to gallop but he stampedes. Rose bloomed from Game 1 and took the defending champs Boston to seven games in his rookie year. Rooks and eight seeds don't do that. After a great second term Rose is a sophomore no more, he's part of the Point Guard and league elite. Along with Carlos Boozer he's forming a Malone and Stockton of the new millennium, and they've only played a few games so far. He passes, boards, scores, bangs and dunks (see that two hander?). With Rose Chi-town are contenders, not pretenders to the throne. This shy and retiring guard is going to inspire confidence to the day he hangs 'em up. TIM DAVID HARVEY.